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Themes in the Canterbury Tales

By zachjmac Nov 11, 2014 760 Words
Greed
Greed is a theme in the pardoner’s tale and portrays an important message on why not to fall into the hands of greed. Book Examples
In the pardoner’s tale the one rioter plots to kill the other two with poison because he is greedy for the money. The quote from the book says “For this young man was utterly content to kill them both and never to repent.” The other two rioters plan to kill the one other rioter so that they can split more of the money because of greed. Other Examples

An outside example of greed is a movie called “Catch Me if you can”. It is a movie about Frank Abagnale who conned over $2 million dollars in fraudulent checks. He was fueled by greed and eventually caught by the police. Questions

Why do people value money so much?
Did the rioters find death because of their greed?
Is it wrong to enjoy money?

Justice
Justice is a theme in the story of the Wife of Bath,
Book Examples
In The Wife of Bath’s tale the girl that the knight raped deserves justice. The knight is punished for his wrong doing which is giving the girl justice. Other Examples
Another book that has the common theme of justice is To Kill a Mockingbird. Although Tom Robinsons is wrongfully condemned because of his race, the book is about justice, and although justice is supposed to protect people, it can be tainted like in the book. Questions

Was the knight’s punishment sufficient?
Do we have a good system of justice today?

Honor/Integrity
Honor is a major theme in the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Book Examples
Honor is involved in the story when Sir Gawain volunteers himself for the game to protect King Arthur. It is also later involved when he stays true to the game and lets the Green Knight strike him back a year and a day later, instead of running away. Other Examples

A great example of a person with integrity comes from the Bible. Job was a man that held fast to his integrity as said in Job 2:3. “And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast to his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Questions

Why is honor/integrity such an important trait?
Is honor something people can get easily?

Good vs. Evil (Beowulf)
Good vs. Evil is a major theme in Beowulf and is used 3 times in the story Book Examples
Beowulf vs. Grendel
Beowulf vs. Grendel’s mother
Beowulf vs. The Dragon
Line 260-261
Beowulf says, “That I, alone and with the help of my men, may purge all evil from this hall. I have heard.” Other Examples
An amazing movie series about Good vs. Evil is Harry Potter. The whole plot revolves around Harry who was saved by the forces of Good and the battle between him and the evil Lord Voldemort. Questions

Was Beowulf really a hero?
What Christian elements or parallels are in Beowulf?

Women’s Rights
A major theme in the Wife of Bath’s tale was Women’s Rights. The knight violated the girl’s rights and he had to pay the price for it. To learn why what he did was wrong and to learn more about women’s rights the queen gave him another chance to answer a question. Book Examples

Women’s Rights were important because the story is all about the knight violating a girl’s writes and instead of being killed, learning from it. If the king had put him to death, he wouldn’t have learned from what he did. The knight learned from what he did and understood the importance of women’s rights by the end of the tale. They are not as strong as men so they can easily be violated, which is why they need rights to protect them and make them equals. Other Examples

A huge example of someone who fought for Women’s Rights was Susan B. Anthony. She devoted her life to fight for women’s rights. She helped form the New York States Woman’s Rights Committee, and started petitions for women to have the right to own property and vote. Questions

Why do you think people don’t see each other as equal?
What are basic rights that everyone deserve?

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